The Secret Within: Driving Strategy and Growth in 2008

HR Paradox

We also asked respondents to reflect on the growth questions and tell us more about which groups had the greatest potential to impact growth and what their organizations should do to start supporting that growth. A total of 133 comments were received in response to this question (note that some people said “I don’t know”).

Of those, a total of 100 comments, or 75%, of the comments directly focused on people or human resource management issues.

Respondents talked about hiring new people, replacing people, getting rid of certain people, providing training to employees, getting help for leaders so they can be better prepared to lead, aligning employee behaviors with strategies, adjusting compensation, setting more difficult goals, demanding skills such as listening to the customers, teaching employees about quality, listening to employees to get more information about opportunities, changing the way teams work together, and more.

Lastly, I ran a regression analysis, using the respondent’s self reports of their organization’s overall financial performance (when compared to other firms in their industry of the same size). In this analysis, I found that the only significant variable in predicting performance is the human resource factor, with firms that have the greatest gap between future potential and current performance being the ones those that have the lowest performance.

Although self rating is not the best “scientific” data point, combining the regression equation with the comment data suggests that there may be secret potential for growth in the “people factor.”

However, the question these analyses beg is:

If 75% of leaders’ suggestions on how to jump start growth deal with people management issues and the predictive analyses show people management may be the key to success, then why are the HRM department scores so low on both growth potential and performance?

When I do survey work, I teach that we should be in “search of deviation.” That means we should look for things that don’t make sense at first glance and then use that data to create a dialogue so that you can dig into details and find opportunities for improvement.